Preserving produce is a year-round pursuit for many, but it definitely goes into high gear in summer. These are some of the best Crock-Pot jelly, jam, preserve, and condiment recipes to fight food waste, stock your pantry, and give as gifts any time you’re feeling generous.
The Crock-Pot just might be the perfect appliance for making ketchup, jam, fruit butter, and other cooked-down things. These are all things best left to transform on their own, in the presence of steady, pervasive heat. The other great thing about slow cooking in summer is you can set it, and flee the stuffiness of the kitchen.
Related Reading: What Is the Difference Between Canning and Preserving?
If you want to make these last a lot longer, can them—see our beginner’s guide to canning, essential canning supplies, and more handy canning tips if you’re not sure where to start. But if you skip the canning process, you can still keep most of these in the fridge for at least a few weeks. Some can be stashed for a few months in the freezer.
We don’t think you’ll have any problem getting through them quickly, though, because they’re all delicious.
In this old-fashioned fruit butter recipe, a puree of fresh blueberries cooks down for at least 4 hours in the Crock-Pot. Sugar, lemon, cinnamon, and nutmeg join the berries in the last hour of cooking. Get our Slow Cooker Blueberry Butter recipe.
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These fluted jars are pretty and practical for storing any of your homemade recipes.
Combine ketchup, honey, brown sugar, vinegar, soy and Worcestershire sauces and a few aromatics, cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, and you’ve got the perfect thing to slather onto ribs all summer long. Get Top Ate on Your Plate’s Slow Cooker Honey BBQ Sauce recipe.
Four ingredients—fresh rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, and cinnamon—and 6 or 7 hours of unsupervised simmering in the slow cooker are all you need. Get The Cottage Mama’s Slow Cooker Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam recipe.
Spoon some onto pizza along with jalapeños and red onions or try it as a meaty nacho topping, even toast a bagel and top with cream cheese and bacon compote—it’s fantastic, any way you eat it. Get our Slow Cooker Bacon Compote recipe.
“If you’ve never made homemade jam before,” writes Kelly on New Leaf Wellness, “then this is the recipe for you. Super quick and easy to prep.” And the perfect way to hold onto perfect summer peaches. Get Kelly’s Slow Cooker Peach Jam recipe.
Medjool dates give this ketchup sweetness without refined sugar (which is what makes it paleo), and long, slow cooking gives the spices a chance to fully give up their flavors (which is what makes it delicious). Get Plated With Style’s Paleo Slow Cooker Ketchup recipe.
Related Reading: The Best Low-Sugar Cookbooks for Paleo, Keto, and Diabetic Diets
This serrano-heavy relish works on a whole range of casual foods besides franks—nachos, burgers, tacos, you name it. Since this recipe makes a lot, you’ll be able to extend your condiment adventure into next season. Get our Slow Cooker Spicy Relish recipe.
This two-ingredient condiment concentrates the amazing flavor of ripe summer tomatoes into a sweet, umami-rich spread you can slather on toast, sandwiches, cheese, and meat all year long. Get Crock-Pot Ladies’ Crock-Pot Sweet Tomato Butter recipe. (If you like a little kick, The Free Range Life’s Sticky Sweet Crock Pot Tomato Jam recipe has cinnamon, cloves, and ginger too—plus an optional sprinkle of red pepper flakes.)
Toss fresh blueberries, sugar, lemon juice, and ground ginger into the Crock-Pot, then switch it on. The especially good thing about this recipe: It shouldn’t take longer than 3 hours. Get BakingQueen74’s Slow Cooker Blueberry and Ginger Jam recipe.
Strawberry jam gets a sophisticated little boost from fresh basil, still abundant in gardens this time of year. The little bit of earthiness makes it especially perfect as a switch-hitter in both sweet and savory dishes—for some specific ideas, see what we like to do with Trader Joe’s Peach Bellini Jam; they pretty much all work for this one too, or any other jam or jelly you prefer. Get Life as a Strawberry’s Crock-Pot Strawberry Basil Jam recipe.
Let peeled, cored, and chunked apples cook away, then purée with an immersion blender, add sugar and flavorings (from cinnamon to five spice powder), and cook a little longer until rich and caramelized. Super easy. Get our Slow Cooker Apple Butter recipe.
Related Reading: What to Do with Apple Butter (Besides Slather It on Toast)